Tag Archives: glaucoma

Am I At Risk Of Glaucoma?

As our glaucoma entry for our ‘in focus’ series explores the condition, we now look at whether you’re at risk of glaucoma.

Our previous blog covers what the condition is, symptoms, the different types of glaucoma and treatment.

Am I at risk of developing glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness.

That’s why it’s vital to be aware of risk factors and speak to your optician as early as possible.

There are a number of risk factors for glaucoma, ranging from age and ethnicity to blood pressure.

Some of the types of glaucoma share certain risk factors, such as a family history of the condition.

That’s why if glaucoma runs in your family, your optician will monitor your eye health, and you may receive more frequent sight tests.

Did you know that it’s possible to be at risk of one type of glaucoma, but not another?

Potential v strong risk factors

It’s possible to divide some risk factors into potential and strong.

For instance, the use of corticosteroids like eye drops and inhalers are a potential risk factor for open-angle glaucoma.

On the other hand, having a thin cornea is a strong risk factor.

Either way, don’t ignore your symptoms and let your optician know.

Open-angle glaucoma risk factors

This type of glaucoma is most likely to develop in people of black-African or black-Caribbean heritage.

If you’re from these backgrounds, you’re at risk of open-angle from the age of 40.

Whereas, if you’re from any other ethnicity, you’re more at risk from the age of 60.

It’s interesting that this type of glaucoma only affects1-2% of the white population.

Angle-closure glaucoma risk factors

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common fin the UK than open-angle.

However, Eastern Asians are at greater risk of developing this form of glaucoma.

Your risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma also increases if you have an eye injury or eye surgery.

If you suffer from an eye injury, you should ring your optician and follow their advice.

Normal-tension glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma is an exception, as you can develop this type of glaucoma even if you have normal eye pressure.

Naturally, you can be at risk of normal-tension glaucoma and not other types of the condition.

Your risk of normal-tension also increases if you have cardiovascular disease or if you have Japanese heritage.

What to do if you’re concerned about your eye health

If you have concerns about your eyes, you should speak to your optician.

You should provide your full family history and answer all lifestyle questions honestly.

Protect your eyes

Proactive eye care is essential to keep your eyes healthy to try and reduce your chance of developing the condition.

However, practising daily eye care does not guarantee that you will avoid glaucoma.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

What You Need To Know About Eye Health

This National Eye Health Week, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about eye health!

It’s important to be aware of different eye conditions, why a regular sight test is essential and your risk factors.

Did you know that if you have any eye health concerns, you should speak with your optician?

Common eye health conditions

As we age, our eyesight and eye health naturally change.

However, there are also other risk factors that affect eye health which we’ll highlight shortly.

When our eye health is poor as a result of these factors, we are more likely to develop an eye condition.

In some cases, poor eye health and eye conditions can cause sight loss.

As a result, this can affect a person’s independence and increase their risk of falls.

That’s why it’s important to know what to keep an eye out for and how to look after your eyes.

So, here’s what you need to know about eye health conditions:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

⚫️ Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of many types of macular disease.

⚫️ AMD causes a blind spot in your central field of vision and usually, it doesn’t affect peripheral vision.

⚫️ Common symptoms of AMD include visual distortions, such as straight lines looking wavy.

⚫️ Over time your vision can worsen and it can affect your ability to do things such as read, drive and recognise faces.

You can find out more about AMD here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

It’s possible to train your eyes to increase the span of vision and use peripheral vision to read.

This is the same technique that speed reading uses. Over time, the eye becomes better at using peripheral vision to see detail.

As a result, it can help a person living with AMD to continue enjoying hobbies and safely navigate their surroundings.

Cataracts

⚫️ A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye, resulting in cloudy, blurry or dim vision.

⚫️ The condition can gradually interfere with your vision and make it difficult to see detail clearly.

⚫️ With time, a cataract can develop and it may require an operation to help restore sight.

⚫️ Better lighting and glasses can initially help improve a person’s level of vision.

You can read more about cataracts here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

As a cataract develops slowly, it can be difficult to spot it – but a sight test can!

Glaucoma

⚫️ Glaucoma can cause ‘tunnel’ vision due to damage to the optic nerve.

⚫️ The condition is usually the result of a build-up of pressure in the eye which damages the optic nerve.

⚫️ The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the lower the chance of irreversible sight loss.

⚫️ Usually, eye drops are used to treat glaucoma, but sometimes an operation is needed.

You can read more about glaucoma here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

Although glaucoma tends to be due to high eye pressure, it’s possible to develop glaucoma even if your eye pressure is within the normal range.

This is known as normal-tension glaucoma.

Diabetic eye disease

⚫️ Diabetic retinopathy is a form of diabetic eye disease and it occurs when blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged.

⚫️ The longer someone has diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels, the higher the chance of developing this eye complication.

⚫️ If left untreated it can cause blurred or reduced vision, which can lead to blindness.

⚫️ If you have diabetes, you should attend your diabetic screening appointment as treatment is available if the condition is caught early.

You can read more about diabetic retinopathy here, or speak with your optician if you have any concerns.

Did you know?

As early detection of diabetic retinopathy can reduce your risk of vision loss by 95%, it’s important to attend your diabetic screening and have a regular sight test.

How are eye conditions diagnosed and monitored?

A sight test can help to identify and monitor any eye health conditions that you may have.

That’s because most symptoms are only visible with professional equipment.

Having a regular sight test can help to identify an eye condition as early as possible.

Depending on the condition, early identification can help to increase the success of treatment.

Although treatment may be unable to cure a condition, it may reduce symptoms and prevent further sight loss.

However, once vision loss occurs, the damage is often irreversible.

So, having a regular sight test is important to help you see better and live better for longer.

Your risk factors of developing an eye condition

While anyone can develop an eye condition, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk.

Age and any family history of eye disease can increase the likelihood of having an eye condition at some point in life.

Additionally, lifestyle is also a considerable risk factor, which includes exercise, diet, smoking and drinking.

You can find out more about your eye health risk using an eye health calculator. However, please remember that this is only an estimate.

If you have any questions or concerns about your eye health, you should speak with your optician.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

It's All In Your Family History

Eye conditions become more common as we age and it’s all in your family history!

Your family history of eye health helps you know what to keep an eye out for.

For example, ethnicity is an important part of your family history as it affects your risk of certain eye conditions.

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent are more likely to develop a common eye condition than other groups of our society.

So, it’s worth paying attention to your family’s eye health so you know what to look out for!

It’s also important to attend your regular sight test to increase the chance of early detection of an eye condition.

Usually, the earlier an eye condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to successfully treat or reduce further deterioration.

Who does my family history include?

When your optician asks about your family history of eye health, remember to mention your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

Inheriting our parents’ eyes

Eye colour isn’t the only thing that we inherit from our parents!

We can also inherit a number of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataract and astigmatism.

Knowing your family history is especially important if you’re a parent and your child is having a sight test. Please provide as much information as possible to your child’s optometrist.

Your family history tells an optician which common eye conditions you’re more likely to develop.

A regular sight test monitors symptoms and progression of any eye conditions.

Your optician will tell you when your next sight test is due. This is determined by your risk factors, including your family history.

It’s important to follow your optician’s advice as well as looking after your eyes on a daily basis.

Common eye conditions and ethnicity

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean origin are more likely to develop a common eye condition than people of different origins.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

The Afro-Caribbean population have a greater risk of AMD under the age of 60 compared with the Caucasian population.

On the other hand, those of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop AMD over the age of 60 compared with those of Afro-Caribbean origin.

Cataract

Those from an Asian background are more likely to develop cataract compared with those from an Afro-Caribbean or Caucasian background.

Glaucoma

People of Afro-Caribbean heritage are 4 to 8 times more likely to develop glaucoma than those of Caucasian heritage.

Diabetic retinopathy

People of Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin have a greater risk of diabetic retinopathy compared with people of Caucasian origin.

However, those of Asian heritage are 3 times more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than those of Caucasian heritage.

Refractive error

While a refractive error isn’t an eye condition, it is a common eye disorder.

It occurs when the shape of the eye can’t focus light rays correctly.

People of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop a refractive error than people of Afro-Caribbean origin.

The importance of daily eye care

Looking after your eyes between visits to your optician is crucial.

Daily eye care can help to keep your eyes otherwise healthy, especially if your family history means you have a greater risk of an eye condition.

While healthy eyes may not prevent an eye condition, they may help to delay the onset or progression of an eye condition.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

A Closer Look At Glaucoma

We’re taking a closer look at glaucoma and how it can affect vision as part of our ‘in focus’ series.

Our ‘in focus’ series also includes cataractage-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Did you know that glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK?

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition that damages the optic nerve and can cause sight loss.

The optic nerve transmits visual information from your eye to your brain to process.

A regular sight test can detect and diagnose glaucoma, which is why it’s important to attend your regular sight test.

How does glaucoma affect vision?

Glaucoma affects the peripheral field of vision first.

The condition can create a ‘tunnel effect’ in your vision and it can become difficult to read, drive and safely navigate the world around you.

The damage can also lead to an eventual loss of central vision if left untreated, but blindness is rare.

Vision deteriorates slower with the most common type of glaucoma, primary angle open glaucoma.

What causes the condition?

Damage occurs to the optic nerve when there is too much or too little pressure at the back of the eye.

Unfortunately, any damage to vision is irreversible as the optic nerve’s fibres can’t regenerate themselves.

Early detection of the condition allows for monitoring and treatment to help delay progression and prevent further sight loss.

The good news is that lowering eye pressure and using drops can help treat glaucoma.

It’s vital to attend your regular sight test and to take care of your eyes between visits to the optician to help you to see better and live better for longer.

What are the types of glaucoma?

There are 4 main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.

Primary open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly and is the most common type of the condition.

Angle-closure glaucoma is a rare type of glaucoma, occurring slowly (chronic) or rapidly (acute) with pressure painfully building-up in the eye.

Secondary glaucoma is the result of another eye condition like uveitis (inflammation of the eye’s middle layer).

Congenital glaucoma is a rare (sometimes inherited) form of the condition resulting from developmental issues of the eye’s drainage system. This type of glaucoma is typically diagnosed by the age of 1.

Keep an eye out for the symptoms

This closer look at glaucoma highlights the need for a regular sight test to assist early detection of the condition.

There are usually no warning signs for the most common type of glaucoma (primary open-angle), so a regular sight test is a must.

On the other hand, pain and redness of the eyes can indicate a different form of glaucoma.

If you experience these symptoms or have a family history of glaucoma, you should visit your local optician.

Remember, early detection of glaucoma can help delay progression and preserve your sight.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.